Learning Word Roots Activities and Printables

Our vocabulary studies center around root words because they are so valuable in understanding lots of words as you learn to spot the root meanings.  Over 60 percent of the words kids encounter have some recognizable word parts, so kids who understand these parts automatically understand much more of what they read.  I wanted to share with you some of the word roots activities and printables we use.

My kids are elementary aged, so we focus on learning just one root per week.  On Monday I introduce the root and its meaning, then we do activities with related words the rest of the week, ending with a quiz on Fridays that covers all the roots we’ve learned this year.

This Root Dictionary is a good place to get started if you aren’t familiar with root words and their definitions.

A few word roots activities we like to do:

  • Word Detective – This is where the kids have a list of words that have a given root in them and they have to look up and write down the definition of each word, discovering what they have in common based on the root.
  • Online Root Word Games
  • Write Cinquains using our root-based vocabulary words.  You can use the printable to teach this simply.
Vocabulary Cinquains
Click on the picture to go to the printable.
  • Make acrostic poems using vocabulary words or root words.
  • Make pictures or diagrams to show how the words are related.
  • Make a root flower chart.  Again, a cool printable to help solidify those root meanings and attach it to words we use.
Root Flowers
Click on the picture to go to the printable.
  • Wordo – This is played like Tic-Tac-Toe.  Each kid draws a board and writes nine words from a list that includes the root we’re learning.  Then I give a dictionary definition of each word and anyone who has it gets to cross it off.  The first kid to get three in a row wins!
  • Write them on note cards and quiz each other or play concentration.
  • Create Word Root Organizers.  Another printable.  Love that all three of these work with any root word you are learning about.
Click on the picture to go to the printable.
Click on the picture to go to the printable.
  •  Word Collector – In this activity they must collect as many words on their page as they can that include our root of the week.
  • I also give them specific challenges based on the root.  For example, if we are learning the word root therm, they may be asked to find something in our house that has therm in it (thermometer, thermostat).

We only spend a few minutes a day, no more than ten ever, but we are expanding our vocabularies by leaps and bounds!  Hope you try out some of these word root activities and enjoy the printables.

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